West Philadelphia Orchestra

    “Pole Grease”


    With a line-up of Philadelphia musicians whose influences range from Sun Ra to Bulgarian brass bands, West Philadelphia Orchestra is a unique live ensemble in today’s auto-tuned musical world. They began playing Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Bulgarian wedding music, and Klezmer in late 2006, and have continued expanding their repertoire of Eastern European music. The band also plays original tunes which blend other sounds, like jazz and classical, together with traditional Balkan sounds. As much a community as a band, WPO’s performances are celebratory events. With blistering beats and walls of brass, they inspire audiences to hold hands, gyrate, howl, and otherwise slip the yoke of the homogenized culture industry.th a line-up of Philadelphia musicians whose influences range from Sun Ra to Bulgarian brass bands, West Philadelphia Orchestra is a unique live ensemble in today’s auto-tuned musical world. They began playing Romanian ballads, Macedonian folk-dance songs, Bulgarian wedding music, and Klezmer in late 2006, and have continued expanding their repertoire of Eastern European music. The band also plays original tunes which blend other sounds, like jazz and classical, together with traditional Balkan sounds. As much a community as a band, WPO’s performances are celebratory events. With blistering beats and walls of brass, they inspire audiences to hold hands, gyrate, howl, and otherwise slip the yoke of the homogenized culture industry.

    “Pole Grease” is uptempo and creates that frenetic feeling that West Philadelphia Orchestra loves to conjure. It was written by Gregg Mervine in the early months of 2018, right around the time that the Eagles were making their Super Bowl run. To prepare for a victory celebration, the city armed the cops with vats of Crisco and had them grease any pole that a joyous fan might feel inclined to climb. And did some Crisco hinder anyone’s celebration? Of course not – the greased pole competition is an annual tradition in South Philly, after all. They recorded and released a studio version in 2019.

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